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Mayor cut officials’ requests

October 10, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - Mayor Dayton King shaved more than $380,000 off city departments' funding requests to arrive at his proposed budget for 2013.

The proposal, released to the Common Council on Tuesday, includes no tax increase or layoffs and uses $648,624 from the city's fund balance.

The mayor said he's proud of the budget because he and Councilman-At-Large James Robinson have been in constant contact with department heads and financial officials during the process.

King said at lot of the budget details will have to be negotiated in contracts with the unions.

One of those details involves the minimum staffing clause with the Fire Department.

The mayor explained the Fire Department has seven people on shift at all times as required by a contract clause. He said removing the clause could save the city $100,000.

"I think the Fire Department does a great job, but unnecessarily, there are too many people there daily," said King. "My goal is to negotiate with the department to hopefully come to a resolution. We don't want to have to go to arbitration or court to change that, but we have to reduce that. If there is a serious fire, I want everyone to come in, but on a 24/7 basis, we just can't afford it anymore. "

He also said the Police Department wanted $150,000 for raises retroactively for the contract that expired Dec. 31, 2010, but King denied that request because the police now receive triple time for holiday pay.

King said he wants the departments to accept insurance plans that call for higher co-pays or deductibles. He said the new plans would save the city money. The terms would have to be negotiated with the department unions, the mayor said.

The mayor and Commissioner of Finance Bruce VanGenderen found the departments overestimated for several of their utility services and trimmed them in the proposed budget. One of those reductions is $45,000 in a DPW building.

The proposed budget uses $648,624 from the fund balance.

King said this was possible because the city increased its fund balance from $1.1 million at the end of 2009 to an estimated $2 million at the end of this year.

"Everyone did a great job to get their information to me and [Finance Commissioner] Van Genderen on time, and we got right at it," said King. "I think we know what we wanted to do, and we have been fiscally responsible over the last three years by increasing our general fund by 80 percent."

The Common Council will look through the budget with department heads starting Tuesday with the city assessor, city clerk, city attorney and the Department of Public Works.

The council will meet with the mayor, Police Department and transit service on Oct. 17. The council also will meet Oct. 18 with the Fire Department and will conclude meetings with department heads on Oct. 24 with the finance department.

All meetings will start at 6 p.m.

The mayor said the new Walmart being built in the city and the possibility of additional commercial development will help future budgets.

"I believe we will be able to maintain the current tax level in the coming years and have no [tax] increases," said King.

The final budget must be by approved by Dec. 10.



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